Be Still
Sunday, June 7, 2015 at 08:14PM
Cheryl Crotty


Be Still.  One year ago I made a commitment to enter a photography course that would last a year...52 weeks to be exact. Think about that for a moment...52 weeks, 52 lessons.  Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring. No time off for good behavior or great shots.   It's a long time.  It's a lot of work and thinking but here it is, a year later, and it has big payoffs.  I did the time, missed only a few lessons and I'm a better photographer today than I was last spring.

Still Life is not easy for me, well it's easier now than it was a year ago.  Truth is, I'm an outdoor photographer with a big splatter of everyday life tossed in.  I struggled with Still Life but I desperately wanted to learn it because I saw the beauty and delicacy in it.  I would travel through the roads of still life photo's of others and I started to notice a pattern of beauty.  It was the softness and light that I found so lovely, with such a Victorian feel to it.  I swear in another life I was European.  I saw china tea cups, lace, lavender and linen.  Then there were delicate flowers of all shades of the rainbow and such sweet pastels, like iceing on cake. Food dripping with texture so wonderful you could almost taste it.  Ladders, baskets, vases, strings and ribbons of various colors and textures...and light, it was always about the light. Morning light, late afternoon light, side light, back light, natural light of every kind.  Lastly there was bokeh, lucscious bokeh...where do you come from and how do I find your magic. 

I had already taken classes with Kim Klassen.  Beyond Layers and Start to Finish.  I belonged to Tuxture Tuesday so I was familiar with her style..her easy way of presenting an idea and then helping us to turn it into a reality.  So I was a Kim Klassen groupie.  Her textures, her presets, her spirit and passion, her dog Ben, it all drew me in and so when Be Still 52 came along, I was in.  I was worried how I would stay with it for a year, but I've always believed the easiest way to get something done is to Just Start...and so I did.

I can honestly say that this year has changed me in so many ways.  I trust myself and my decision's on my photography choices.  I learned that if I want it bad enough I can go after it.  Also, if something isn't hitting me on the head, I don't beat myself up trying to make it happen because when I do that, it never is authentic or rich.  I learned that change happens, both in people and in life but I don't let that change my vision or my goal.  I've also learned that textures are rich and pre-sets add character to a photo.   They are not for everyone but they are for still life.  Finally, during this year it also came home to me that sill life happens everywhere.  In the house, in a studio, in the forest and at the ocean.  Still life is created whenever we take the time to slow down, find our spark, set the scene and move around.  Only after taking the time to breath into the photo, that which we see in our head and our heart, can we then press the shutter and produce the image.  

So as this year of Be Still comes to an end...I am grateful for all I've learned.  I grateful for the friendships I've made and the photography that I have witnessed happening by others.  It is a gift to belong to a group of like minded people sharing a common creative endeavor, yet all moving along at their own pace and beauty. Sparks and inspiration come from community. Technique comes from a great teacher and for that, I am indebted to Kim Klassen for her passion for teaching and her easy flow of understanding.  For textures, pre-sets, videos and connection...she has made it feel easy, even when it wasn't...I also know that I will continue to be part of this community in some way.  Connections are important to me and for that reason I won't be far or gone for good.  

So Still Life, now is a part of who I am and what I love..adding it to the list of all my other photographic loves..and to my love of writing.   As I go forward I plan on expanding my love of the written word with my need for the peace that photography be still in the moment, viewing creation and critters in a natural enviroment, and also in a studio to create my still life.  To feel the joy of creativity.  I now think of myself as a heart photographer...and essayist.  Shooting and writing whatever moves me at any given moment...this is what a year of Be Still did for me... 

White Lilacs

The air is molten,
Slow-moving and thick,
And filled with the heavy
Of white lilacs,
Like incense in the temple
Of the sun.
Memories float,
Seen through plate-glass
In people's souls.
Melodies lazily dance in
The summer sky,
Laughing notes that fall
Like trickling streams in
In singing
Crystal waterfalls
That wash away the
Dust of life.



The above photo is dedicated to Kim Klassen...Her love of Lilac's is well know...the photo was edited in LR and then into Photoshop CC for text...KK pre-set used was pastelhaze.

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